The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, “MERS,” is a respiratory virus that kills nearly 40% of people infected and has its origins in Saudi Arabia. It has traveled beyond the Middle East in isolated cases and so far hasn’t caused a major pandemic, but has eluded being wiped out for over two years. Recently, the virus has made a major jump to South Korea, which significantly increases the odds the virus will go global. To put this disease in perspective, it has a death rate on par with Ebola, but is spread more easily than Ebola. In short, this virus concerns me more than Ebola and Ebola concerned me. Nonetheless, the facts shouldn’t panic you, but they certainly should concern you. If MERS mutates or is able to spread to other large cities, it could still pose a threat to your health.
Fortunately, right now there is no need for alarm. South Korea appears to be doing an effective job at isolating cases and quarantining anyone with a possible infection. Although it is likely more cases will appear in South Korea, the real issue is whether any cases appear outside of South Korea in places like Japan, China, Europe, or the USA. LMS will be tracking the efforts to contain this latest outbreak and will continue to update you when/if there is further news. As a part of our pandemic analysis, you should know that our information comes in part, directly from some of the leading experts in virology/infectious diseases at the forefront of combating the Ebola outbreaks. These are legitimate bona fides and far exceed what most could get even from the CDC. In short, like our Ebola coverage, we will be bringing you vetted, grounded, expert analysis that is not motivated by hype or hysteria.
For now, you should be reviewing your preparedness for a pandemic and monitoring the situation. If MERS does jump to the US, stay up-to-date with LMS for the latest recommendations and analysis. To make this super easy, subscribe to our blog by simply adding your email address on our home page link.
By Guiles Hendrik
June 14, 2015
What is MERS:
Additional reading: http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/13/asia/south-korea-mers-outbreak/